Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

Alan W. Johnson, PhD


The Air Force's aerial refueling tanker aircraft provide essential support for deployment and employment of combat and combat support aircraft, by extending their endurance and enhancing fighting efficiency. As the lead command for air refuelers, Air Mobility Command (AMC) must frequently examine the capability of current and proposed tanker fleets to meet mission requirements due to limited tanker resources. Analysts in AMC primarily use the Combined Mating and Ranging Plans System to provide actual tanker/receiver aircraft schedules and flight plans that take into account numerous system constraints. However, this tool can take weeks to run. Even recently developed quick look tools, aimed at optimization of the fleet, can take 1/2 hour or more. Additionally, most of these more recent studies and tools assess the feasibility of deployments. Less attention has been given to the employment phase of missions. AMC lacks a quick look tool to quickly perform rough cut capacity analysis for tanker use and assess the feasibility of proposed employment of tankers. To develop a feasibility quick look tool, the basic formulae for computing tankers missions must be understood. While the airlift community has defined million ton miles per day as their keystone metric, the tanker community -- concerned with being on time, on target, with fuel -- lacks such a definitive metric. This thesis describes fundamental algebraic relations that characterize employment of air refueling aircraft, employing rough cut capacity planning to determine feasibility of tanker employment with a given amount of resources. The Tanker Employment Model provides AMC with an efficient tool for quickly assessing tanker employment capabilities.

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